Egypt’s Al-Sisi Appoints New Armed Forces Chief of Staff

Egypt’s al-Sisi has named a new armed forces chief of staff.  In a brief statement, the presidency said that al-Sisi has appointed former defense ministry secretary general Mohammed Farid Hegazy to the post.

His predecessor Mahmoud Hegazy, who had held the post since March 2014, was named a presidential adviser.

No reason for the reshuffle was given.

Moreover, Egypt’s Minister of Interior ordered limited changes in the top echelons of the leadership of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other sectors at the ministry as part of an inter-ministry reshuffle and reassignment.

It is worth to mention that the reshuffle came after the deadly attack on a police operation in a western desert area of Giza Province, in which the ministry said 16 police were killed after coming under heavy fire.

On October 20, the province was the scene of an attack that claimed the lives of at least 16 police officers in the Western Desert, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of Cairo.

Mahmoud Hegazy , who is linked to al-Sisi through the marriage of their respective children, recently returned from Washington where military chiefs had gathered to discuss fighting “terrorism”.

Mohammed Farid Hegazy’s appointment is a major change in the military establishment.

Al-Sisi,who came to power after a military coup in 2013 that ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, served as a defense minister.

Since the coup, Egypt’s armed forces have been fighting Islamist insurgency including by the Islamic State group, known as “Sinai Province”.

Hundreds of policemen and officers have been killed in attacks by militants in the recent years.

The insurgency is concentrated on North Sinai Province, although ISIS has also extended its presence to southern Egypt and the Nile Delta, north of Egypt’s capital.

Since the Libya’s chaos after the 2011 end of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s rule, the vast western desert region has been in security turmoil with arms flowing across the frontier with Libya as the militant groups have found shelter.